Guppies are hardy. Their ability to adapt to a challenging environment makes them one of the hardiest aquarium fish. Although guppies are hardy, they are not invulnerable. They are usually prone to fungal infections due to their long tails. Guppies can fall sick if kept in unsuitable habitat.
While guppies are hardy, don’t think that they can handle the harshest environments. There are a lot of things that can make guppies sick if overlooked. So, let’s delve deeper into what makes guppies hardy and the factors that hamper their health.
What Makes Guppies Hardy?
The ability to adapt to a wide variety of habitats makes guppies hardy.
They are versatile fish that don’t need precise conditions to thrive as long as their basic needs are fulfilled.
Also, guppies can survive in freshwater as well as brackish water.
This ability is not commonly found in other tropical fish species.
Besides, guppies are incredibly peaceful. They usually do not bully other fish in a community tank.
Neither do they get bullied easily. This behavior helps in keeping their stress levels low, which makes them hardy.
Alright! That sounds good.
Now that you know what makes guppies hardy, let’s also understand the factors that adversely affect their health.
Factors That Affect Guppies’ Health
Guppies are popular amongst aquarists for their striking colors. Seasoned aquarists find guppies easy to care for.
However, many newcomer aquarists have no clue about how to keep guppies.
Hence, they either fall sick or contract a disease.
Apart from diseases, numerous factors can affect guppies’ health.
Given below are some of the primary reasons that affect the health of guppies.
1. Poor Genetics
Genetics is one of the primary reasons that affect guppies’ health.
If you have guppies with inferior genes, they may die prematurely. There’s nothing much you can do.
However, you can avoid purchasing guppies with inferior genetics.
For this, you need to purchase them from well-known local pet stores that take good care of their fish.
Stress is one of the primary reasons that affect guppies’ well-being.
Stress often leads to the weakening of the guppies’ immune system.
It impacts them slowly and can prove fatal if overlooked.
Stress is caused due to unfavorable living conditions such as water parameters, poor water quality, bullying, illness, or a new environment.
3. Poor Water Conditions
Guppies need clean water for long life. If the tank water is filthy, there is no way that your guppies will stay alive for too long.
Poor water conditions will result in a spike in ammonia, nitrates, and nitrite levels, thus making your guppies sick.
Besides, tank water gets contaminated by leftover food, fish waste, insufficient filtration, or lack of water changes.
4. Unsuitable Water Parameters
Water parameters, like water temperature and pH levels, should be suitable and stable for guppies to stay healthy.
Since guppies are tropical fish, they thrive in warm water.
The ideal water temperature for guppies is 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C), and the ideal pH level is 6.8 to 7.8.
If the water parameters are not suitable, guppies may fall sick frequently.
Overcrowding is yet another primary reason for guppies’ ill health.
At times, we purchase too many fish at once, thinking that they will enjoy each other’s company.
However, overcrowding results in space constraints for the guppies.
They need ample space to swim freely. Also, overcrowding results in a lack of oxygen levels in the tank water.
Guppies may feel stressed due to the lack of space and oxygen. This will affect their well-being.
6. Incompatible And Aggressive Tankmates
Aggressive tankmates can also affect the health of guppies. Guppies being peaceful fish, thrive well with compatible tankmates.
If they have aggressive tankmates, the timid guppies may get bullied continuously.
Constant bullying creates stress and hampers their health.
Fish such as Barbs, Oscars, and African Cichlids are not compatible with your guppies and should be avoided if you have a community tank.
All aquarists love to feed their little ones. However, seldom do we realize that overfeeding can prove fatal to their health.
Overfeeding results in excess fish waste and leftover food in the tank.
If you do not clean the tank regularly, it will result in contaminated water.
This will again adversely affect guppies’ health.
8. Improperly Cycled Tank
Guppies’ health gets affected if the tank is not cycled correctly. All tanks need to be cycled properly before adding fish.
Cycling the tank helps create beneficial bacteria in the water. These bacteria help to break down the toxins like ammonia.
An improperly cycled tank will contain a high level of ammonia. The increased ammonia levels will adversely affect guppies’ health.
9. Left Alone
Guppies are social fish that enjoy company. If you keep a single guppy, your guppy will feel alone and stressed.
Stress often results in the weakening of the immune system.
In such a scenario, your guppy will no longer be hardy. It can easily succumb to an illness.
Although guppies are hardy, they are not immune to diseases. They are susceptible to many diseases that can cause trauma.
Luckily, most of the diseases can be spotted early on, and they can be cured with proper medication.
Given below are some of the major guppy diseases:
- Swim Bladder Disease: Swim bladder disease can be caused by overfeeding. The swim bladder’s compression can also cause this disease. The compression can occur due to rapid eating or gulping air while grabbing food from the water’s surface. Enlarged organs or infection can also lead to swim bladder disease. Besides, the unsuitable water temperature can prove lethal to your guppies’ swim bladder.
- Fin Rot: Fin rot is another common disease found in most fish, including guppies. Fin rot is caused when the fins and tails of guppies get bitten by other fish. You can find your guppies’ tail deteriorating and subsequently decaying. This disease can even be caused by fungal or bacterial infection. This disease is very contagious and can spread quickly to the other fish. If you identify this disease early on, it can be cured with proper medication. However, if it is not treated in the initial stage, it becomes difficult to treat. Your whole tank can become contagious, and it can prove disastrous to every fish residing in your aquarium.
- Protozoan: Protozoan is a tiny parasite that mainly affects guppies. This is a waterborne parasite that attaches to guppies’ skin. It then penetrates the skin through their muscles and enters the bloodstream. This parasite usually develops in unheated tanks with poor water quality. Protozoan can be challenging to diagnose and hence proves deadly if untreated.
- Constipation: Constipation is common in aquarium fish like guppies. The leading cause of constipation and indigestion is a lack of dietary fiber. Lack of fiber intake causes improper functioning of the digestive tract. Guppies find it challenging to expel waste, thus causing constipation.
- Ich: Ich or Ick is a common disease found in freshwater aquarium fish. Ich is caused by an ectoparasite (ciliate protozoan ichthyophthiriusmultifiliis). This disease is easy to spot as you can find small white spots on your guppies’ skin and fins. You can notice your guppies rubbing their skin against decoration, plant leaves, rocks, or the sides of the aquarium. The symptoms are loss of appetite and refusal of food intake. If ich is diagnosed early, it can be treated with medication.
- Bent Spine Disease: Bent spine refers to the curve in the fish’s spine when observed from above or sideways. Guppies may get born with bent spine disease, or they can develop it in the adulthood stage. The bent spine in guppies is majorly due to either scoliosis or fish tuberculosis. Scoliosis begins to develop while the guppy fry is still in the larvae stages. It is even caused due to lack of nutrition, inbreeding, bad tank conditions, or heredity. This disease is untreatable and often requires euthanasia of sick fish. Euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally ending the life of the fish to relieve it from pain and suffering.
- Dropsy: Guppies become susceptible to this condition when the tank parameters are not suitable. You can find swelling around your guppies’ abdomen due to the accumulation of fluids within their body. The common cause of dropsy in guppies is bacterial infection, which can be caused by poor water quality, organ failure, and certain viral and protozoan infections. Guppies suffering from dropsy will be lethargic, lose their appetite, and will be poorly colored. Dropsy is difficult to treat and often results in the untimely death of guppies.
Are endler guppies hardy? Yes, endler guppies are hardy. The ideal water temperature for endler guppies ranges from 78°F to 80°F. However, they can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. Being tropical fish, they prefer warm water. Also, planted tanks are best suited for them as they closely mimic their natural habitat.
Are male guppies hardy? Yes, male guppies are hardy unless they are genetically weak. Given a favorable environment with a balanced nutritious diet, male guppies can thrive. They can tolerate a range of conditions. They don’t have specific water requirements if you want to breed them.
What other fish are hardy? Other than guppies, bettas, mollies, and zebra danios are hardy fish. Amongst all, zebra danios are the hardiest. Aquarists often prefer them as they can survive in harsh conditions. Also, they have a higher temperature tolerance.